1. Problem: Resident is over stimulated by the large group and the activity room. She becomes agitated & anxious and will not stay in the room after 15 min., although she seems to enjoy the music until then.

    Solution: Start a small music group with 2 to 3 compatible residents in a quieter room on the resident's own floor with her primary care aide or another familiar person as facilitator, so the resident will feel more secure.

  2. Problem: The time of the activity is not good for the resident. He needs to rest in the afternoon.

    Solution: Offer an evening music group using trained volunteers or family members.

  3. Problem: The resident enjoys music but needs to pace and is distracting to the rest of the group.

    Solution: Start a "marching band" music program using marching music and instruments for active residents who like to move around. The leader leads the group on a pacing path playing taped marching music. (Could add children, high school or college students or family to pair up with residents and go outside in good weather.)


  • The principal activity is in enjoying the music, playing instruments, singing, dancing, clapping, moving to the music and sharing the joy and memories that it calls forth with other members of the group. Take cues from the participants body language in order to encourage them to participate in a way that is comfortable for each individual resident.
  • The time spent in the activity should be viewed by staff as an important part of the resident's life and well-being. It should not be routinely interrupted with other concerns such as medications, routine appointments or questions. The resident's schedule should be planned around the activity.
  • Each member of the group is made to feel an important part of the group by being greeted "Howard, I'm glad you could come today to play the triangle." and praised and encouraged for their participation throughout the program: "This Irish song is for you, Mary O'Brien!" "You have the beat, Leo!" "I know you like to dance to this song, Irma. Will you come dance with me?"
  • Different formats and songs should be tried and group consensus sought on favorite songs and format solicited. It will be different for each group according to the culture of the participants.
  • Motivate residents to sing, dance, sway to music, clap hands, and enjoy songs from the past by sparking their energy with your energy and enthusiasm for the activity.
  • Be vigilant to cue residents as needed to participate and play instruments.
  • Have the residents engage in the music activities, as much as they are comfortable with, and to have fun and form new, peer relationships with staff in a social setting. As residents become accustomed to the ritual that is repeated at every group, they begin to participate in more ways.
  • Serve as leaders and show the residents what to do for each song by doing it themselves.
  • Any staff, volunteers, or family members coming to the program should be invited to join the group circle and participate as part of the group in whatever way they feel comfortable. They should not be allowed to stand and watch as observers as this is very distracting to the group, is not respectful of the goals of the program, and is intimidating to some participants.
  • The room the activity is held in should be comfortable and cheerful and available for each session.
  • Social interaction should be encouraged and fostered.
  • Each facilitator or staff member present should be assigned to cue a certain number of residents, 4 or 5 works best.

Forms to Assist in Evaluating Intervention and Environment

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